Parkinson's Movement
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Muscles or Nerves?

Wall Street Journal article 7/12: Spicy End to Muscle Cramps. sorry i cannot print this article due to its length to will paraphrase a summary here: Nobel winner Rod MacKinnon had muscle cramps while kayaking and did not believe it was from dehydration, fatigue or lack of electrolytes. His study showed that primary origin of cramp is the nerve, not muscle.

Seeking to avoid cramps by regulating excessive firing of motor neurons, he and colleagues constructed the first atomic model of the protein models that make electrical signals in living organisms.

MacKinnon and Bruce Bean believed they could modify the nervous system in cluding the neurons controlling muscle by applying a strong sensory input and stimulating receptors in the mouth and esphagus - tasting pungent overloads of foods which would provide a numbing effect.

MacKinnon, "The strong sensory nput causes inhibition of the motor output."

After years of trial and error on himself, he concluded that it is harded to induce cramps after indulging in spicy concoctions. Studies followed with similar results.

The irony is that for years athletes have used pungent liquids like pickle juice, beets or sour cherries to avoid cramp. They were on to something, just not the right something.

MacKinnon has developed a company (surprise!) which markets Hotshot, a mix of ginger, cinnamon and capsicum (red pepper). It's not your usual cool, citrus-flavored packs a jolt.

The point is to shock the system, not replenish it.

My words: Maybe this is why people with swallow problems do better when swallowing iced drinks than not.

What implications could this have with regard to regulating the firing of neurons in PD? i recall reading about a child in Canada with diabetes who was given capsicum and it worked. also, there is a bit on google about the use of it that way.

7 Replies

Here's the original Wall Street Journal article:


thanks. got to thinking about my husbands nausea which has been a problem for years. he takes ginger (a major component in HotShot) and if he uses GingerTrips, lozengers which melt in the mouth, he get relief. capsules, not so much or so quick. so it probably is a stomach muscle spasm, i guessing, which is refired by the oral stimulation. all this time i thought it was stomach acid and couldn't understand why certain things which should help that, didn't work.


Perspective...Posture is a major issue for most with PD. The problem is that

the Striatim controls muscles at the tissue level, (as distinguished from the cellular level). As dopamine declines in the striaium fails to maintain the balance between the flexion and extensor muscles, the extensor being weakened, while the strength of the Flexor muscles are not effected, operationally they are over contacted because in balance they are not challenged by the weaker extensor muscles. The the prolonged tetany of the flexor muscles lead to a cascade of diusfunctional even ts including dystonia. Currently, I am experiencing some suppuration of my left foot in gait. This feels the same, opposing sets of muscles out of baalece.

Point being in my experience of PD, dysfunction occrures at the tissue level, not the cellular level.



In order to communicate, neurons use chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters send information between neurons by crossing the space between them, called the synapse. Normally, neurons in the substantia nigra produce a neurotransmitter known as dopamine. Dopamine is critical for movement and it helps transmit messages within the brain to make sure muscles produce smooth, purposeful movement. Loss of dopamine results in abnormal nerve firing patterns that impair movement.



I have not been clear about the distintion I am trying to address. The immediate effectt is that a deficiency of dogamine molecules interferes with the communication between individual nerve cells.structurallybecause of a number of recegtoe sites located on the outter membranne of the nerve cell. The molecule of dogamine"docking in the

recegtor site causes a gaticular message to be sent on across the receiving neuron's body. These signals seem to be fized. Therere around ten recegtor sites. Think of it kke inmetaghor to ushing keyss on a gaino. Some other moleczules mimic the effect of dogamine moleccules in that they also turn on some of the recegtors. These are callled agnosts ( I take one caled regrinole).

The effect of ll this in the aggregate is to weaken the eztensor muscles in the joints. A weak eztensorf muscle os not the big groblem. The big deal is the consequence this has on the flezor muscles. They are out of balanc, thry are too sdtrong. they are in constant contractgion. this constant congtracton has nothing to do directly ith dogamine molecules. A cascade of bad things haggen . Holdogutyourhand, close it iinto a fiast. conttract the mucles as hard as yhoucan. in just a sort while you wil;l; ez;;er;ence that thus is not good. the signalnthatnisassed through the nreon deends on the nerve cell it self and in th end u;on the final effect onthe muscle cell, The ;ointseems tome is that the effect is na function ofthe ;;;;;;;articular; muscle tissue involvef,and most offen is an secondary effect to the actig;n of dog;;;;;;;;;;;;;amine.;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

BillDavid Sorry for the tyg;ing,g vision g;roblems today. Again my g;;;ersgective.;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;


i understood what you were saying. i just found that neuron thing and thought you might be interested in it. thank you.


Slightly different perspective on a totally different level. When my husband walks with an empty coffee cup (or other small object) in each hand, his muscles do not tighten and cramp up in his arms when he walks. In this case, his hand is active rather than being at rest. Having just finished an LSVT BIG 4 week program, he was shown that when he was actively engaged in reaching for something he had no problem with balance. His balance can become unsteady out of the blue when he is zoned out.


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